Breaking records for The Shane Warne Foundation – The 3rd Annual Joe Hachem & Shane Warne Charity Poker Tournament brought together over 500 guests on Thursday 29th October and raised close to half a million dollars. The event is fast shaping up to be one of the biggest on Melbourne’s fundraising calendar. Nearly 400 poker players went head to head with a host of celebrities to raise money to improve the lives of seriously ill & underprivileged children in Australia.
Chairman Shane Warne & Australian Patron Joe Hachem kicked the event off welcoming players, guests and sponsors alike for joining them on the Foundation’s mission to raise funds for seriously ill and underprivileged children in Australia, now and in the future. Foundation Directors Garry Lyon & Ann Peacock, took charge of MC duties for the evening closely supported by commentating experts Bill Brownless and Tony Hachem, brother of Joe Hachem.
Rock legend Leo Sayer got the crowd grooving early in the evening performing 3 hit songs and young Carlos Sila, a former beneficiary of The Shane Warne Foundation performed a solo and inspired a sing along to Kenny Rogers ‘The Gambler’.
Hamish Blake and Andy Lee were a stellar addition to the event’s success – Andy with the standout hand of the night, producing quad queens in front of Sir Michael Parkinson. Glamour couple Michael Clarke & Lara Bingle were there to show their support joined by a host of other celebrities including gossip guru Richard Reid, Megan Gale, Bill Brownless, Dermott Brereton, Anthony Koutofides, Jeff Fenech, Fifi Box, Kelly Landry, Merv Hughes and more.
With Michael Clarke, Hamish & Andy as spotters in a sea of guests, the Live Auction had people digging deep producing a huge $90,000 from 6 items. The clincher – a last minute item instigated by Hamish & Andy including lunch at the Flower Drum with the duo themselves plus Megan Gale, Michael Clarke, Lara Bingle and the Foundation’s Chairman Shane Warne – selling for a whopping $10,000. Other items included a unique golf package for 4 people to play at James Packer’s private course at Ellerston ($30,000 kindly donated by Mr. James Packer a Foundation Ambassador), a Lamborghini drive day package and corporate luncheon ($11,000), a Private Poker Game with Shane Warne and Joe Hachem ($10,000), a Collingwood Inner Sanctum Package kindly donated by Collingwood President Eddie McGuire ($16,000) and Platinum Diamond Cufflinks thanks to Simon West Fine Jewellery ($4,000).
The final element to the auction period had everyone’s heads spinning with a new fundraising initiative titled SPIN THE WIN WHEEL. Guests got involved throughout the night by purchasing a roulette number for $500 to be one in 37 chances to win the spin. Participants held their breath as Billy Brownless spun the wheel…holding the lucky number 9 was the stunning Megan Gale winning a trip to Thailand valued at over $9,500.
Son of Foundation Ambassador Lloyd Williams, Nick Williams’ amazing generosity, may yet prove to be the most valuable addition to the event having pledge to donate $100,000 to the cause if one of either C’est La Guerre, Zipping or Efficient comes home in the Melbourne Cup. Needless to say we are all behind the Williams’ stable this Tuesday!
Chairman Shane Warne was thrilled at the result of the event: “Everyone that came and supported the event had an amazing time and I was truly blown away by everyone’s generosity. A massive thank you to Hamish and Andy who really made the night and to the Nick Williams stable – on behalf of the foundation we wish them the best of success for the big race. To pledge a hundred thousand dollars is totally unbelievable but once again shows the generous side to the Williams family”
As the clock ticked well past midnight, Warne and Hachem turned up the heat on the final table joining the remaining 8 players in their pursuit of the number one prize. It was Michael Kroger who was crowned poker king for a night winning the HIGH ROLLERS PACKAGE – a seat in the main event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas plus business class flights and accommodation. The Aussie Millions package was awarded for 2nd place to Patrick Short.
The Foundation would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our sponsors who made the night happen including all corporate sponsors and the general public involved in the event. A special thanks to long time sponsors –Crown Entertainment Complex and Fosters Limited.